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338 pages, Hardcover
First published May 24, 2016
His eyes drank me in. Oh, the Evanness of it all, how he gulps down my presence like a guy stumbling upon an oasis in the desert.
There’s been a shitload of huh? moments since the Others came, but this one has gotta be the huh-est of them all.
My hands roamed his body, an undiscovered country, which henceforth I shall call Evanland. Hills and valleys, desert plains and forest glens, the landscape pockmarked with the scars of battle, criss-crossed by fault lines and unexpected vistas. And I am Cassie the Conquistador: The more territory I conquer, the more I want.
My face is hot. I’m thinking of the night I landed on the shores of Evanland and planted my flag upon that sculpted beach.
Life is a circle bound by fear. The fear of the predator. The fear of the prey. Without fear, life would not exist.
There are times I hate my own brain.You and me both, girl.
My place is with Sam; it’s always been with Sam. Sam is my raison d’être. Not some delusional Ohio farm boy crazy all the way down to the bottom of his bones.
I drop the rucksack over one shoulder and the rifle over the other. “Buzz Lightyear just told us they’re blowing up the cities.”Or when he was just being all cute and hopeless.
”[…] My vote is south. Find a source of fresh water, miles from anywhere, as in the middle of nowhere.”What did piss me off to some extent was how he continuously flirted with both Cassie and Ringer. Like dude, make up your freaking mind. You can’t keep two muffins in the oven. Frankly, I wanted it to be Cassie, because after that ‘Buzz Lightyear’ quote, I was so ready to jump ship (might also have to do with the overwhelming absence of Evan in this instalment but ok...)
“And?” Ringer asks.
“And what then?”
“Yes. After we get to nowhere, then what?”
Ben lifts a hand. Lets it fall. His mouth curls into smile. He looks so boyishly cute in this moment that I feel like bursting into tears. “There’s five of us. I say we form a band.”
My little brother has forgotten the alphabet but he knows how to make bombs.Umm, I do?
A year ago it was crayons and coloring books, construction paper and Elmer’s glue. Now it’s fuses and blasting caps, wires and black powder.
Who wants to read a book when you can blow something up?
"[…] our highest achievement and the one thing for which I pray we will always be remembered, is stuffing wads of polyester into an anatomically incorrect, cartoonish ideal of one of nature's most fearsome predators for no other reason than to soothe a child."
My hands roamed his body, an undiscovered country, which henceforth I shall call Evanland. Hills and valleys, desert plains and forest glens, the landscape pockmarked with scars of battle, crisscrossed by fault lines and unexpected vistas. And I am Cassie the Conquistador: The more territory I conquer, the more I want.Desert plains and forest glens? I'm sorry, is this supposed to be sexy? (Also, technically, she would be a conquistadorA, no?). This gave me the creeps. And then, while she’s supposed to worry for Evan’s safety, because the dude has serious martyr issues, she’s thinking this:
His chest heaved: a subterranean quake that rose to the surface like a tsunamic wave.
My face is hot. I’m thinking of the night I landed on the shores of Evanland and planted my flag upon that sculpted beach.Excuse me while I go throw up.
Ben says something at that point, which I totally miss, because my mind has a way of scolding its own thoughts. Like, how could I be the flag-planter? Shouldn’t that be Evan?WHO THE FUCK CARES?
“Well, I’m not babysitting while you go all Don Quixote on this.”
“You know, making obscure literary references doesn’t impress me.”
2.5 out of 10
"Who needs a 12th System when you have a heart like Cassie Sullivan’s?"
"My face is hot. I’m thinking of the night I landed on the shores of Evanland and planted my flag upon that sculpted beach."
"Three Bens, two Cassies, a couple of Sams, and, of course, the literal duality of Evan Walker."
Call me Zombie.
Everything hurts. Even blinking hurts. But I’m getting up. That’s what zombies do.
So there you go. You can love the good in us and hate the bad, but the bad is in us, too. Without it, we wouldn’t be us.
I’ll kill until I lose count. I’ll kill until counting doesn’t matter.
It’s more than Zombie can handle. He falls against the side of the barricade, gulping air, his face lifted up to the sky. Lost, found, dead, alive, the cycle repeats; there’s no escape, there’s no reprieve. Zombie closes his eyes and waits for his breath to slow, his heart to steady. A small break before it begins again: the next loss, the next death.
She was the mayfly, here for a day, then gone. She was the last star, burning bright in a sea of limitless black.
I supposed I could turn to Bear. It was always easy to talk to him. We had hours of conversation, good conversation, during those weeks when it was just me and him hiding in the woods. Bear’s an excellent listener. He never yawns or interrupts or walks away. Never disagrees, never plays games, never lies. I go where you go, always, that’s Bear’s jam.
Bear proves that true love doesn’t have to be complicated-or even reciprocated.
And I run on. Through a primordial landscape unscarred by any human thing, the world as it was before trust and cooperation unleashed the beast of progress. The world is circling back now to what it was before we knew it. Paradise lost. Paradise returned.
But the most wonderful thing of all, our highest achievement and the one thing for which I pray we will always be remembered, is stuffing wads of polyester into an anatomically incorrect, cartoonish ideal of one of nature’s most fearsome predators for no other reason than to soothe a child.
Reduce the human population to a sustainable number, then crush the humanity out of it, since trust and cooperation are the real threats to the delicate balance of nature, the unacceptable sins that drove the world to the edge of a cliff.
Lying is like murder-after the first one, each one that follows is easier.
Why must I always be the isle of crazy alone in an ocean of sensibility? The should to everybody else’s shouldn’t? The I-will to their better-nots?
Squad 53 is gone, broken apart, dead or missing or dying or running.
RIP, squad 53.
The others concluded that the only way to save the world was to annihilate civilization. Not from without, but from within. The only way to annihilate human civilization was to change human nature.
They wanted a mindless, stone-cold killer to let loose on the world. They wanted a zombie. Now they’ve got one.
I stood up. Then I sat back down. There was nowhere to go. Well, I could go to the kitchen and make a sandwich, except there was no bread or deli meat or cheese. I don’t know the particulars, but I’m pretty sure there’s a Subway on every corner in heaven. Also Godiva stores. On our second day here, I found Grace’s stash of forty-six boxes of Godiva chocolates. Not that I counted them.
After Sam hit me on the nose, I burst out of the bathroom, soaking wet, whereupon I smacked into Ben Parish’s chest. Ben was lurking in the hallway as if every little thing that has to do with Sam is his responsibility, the aforesaid little shit screaming obscenities at my back, the only dry part of my body after trying to wash his, and Ben Parish, the living reminder of my father’s favorite saying that it’s better to be lucky than smart, gave me that ridiculous what’s up? look, so stupidly cute that I was tempted to break his nose, thereby making him not so damn Ben Parish-y looking.
Stopping just short of the doorway, I pull out one of the stun grenades. I slip my finger into the pin. My hands are shaking. A dribble of sweat courses down the middle of my back. This is how they get you, this is how they crush the spirit right out of you. Out of the blue the past is rammed down your throat, a gut punch of memories of all the things you took for granted, the things that you lost in the blink of an eye, the stupid, trivial, forgettable things you didn’t know could crush you, things like an old woman’s quivery voice, high-pitched and far away, calling you inside for a plate of warm cookies and a glass of ice-cold milk.
They rest in us and we in them. Our heart contains all others. One heart, one life, on the advent of a mayfly's final flight.
“Love is forever. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be love. The world is beautiful. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the world.”
“We bear the unbearable. We endure the unendurable. We do what must be done until we ourselves are undone.”
“But I am even more than this. I am all those they remember, the ones they loved, everyone they knew, and everyone they only heard about. How many are contained in me? Count the stars. Go on, number the grains of sand. That’s me.
I am humanity.”